Wednesday, Oct. 2
PLAN A: Ólafur Arnalds @ The Loft at UCSD. Generally, this column starts off with a noisy punk show or some local garage rockers, but this week, the best course of action is to soak in some string-laden beauty before blowing out your eardrums. Ólafur Arnalds has toured with Sigur Rós and contributed to the Hunger Games soundtrack, but it's the stark chamber pieces he creates that will leave your jaw on the floor. PLAN B: San Pedro El Cortez, PL DVNA, Amerikan Bear @ The Griffin. Then again, if it's something loud you want, then take in Tijuana garage rockers San Pedro El Cortez, who mix psychedelia into their raw and fuzzy rippers. BACKUP PLAN: Flaggs, Boy King, DJ MIkey Ratt @ Tower Bar.
Thursday, Oct. 3
PLAN A: The Heavy Guilt, Kongos, Hot Sands @ House of Blues. The Heavy Guilt are nominated for Artist of the Year in this year's San Diego Music Awards—and, if you ask me, they've earned it. The rootsy, soulful alt-rockers command any stage they walk onto, and they'll prove it in a comparatively big arena at House of Blues.
Friday, Oct. 4
PLAN A: Anathema, Alcest, Mamiffer, Ana @ The Casbah. If it's something epic ye seek, then English prog-rockers Anathema are the grand, ornate wizards you're looking for. But I'm more interested in French shoegazers Alcest, who occasionally dip into a raw, heavy sound but mostly focus on soaring, ethereal anthems that sound kind of like M83 raised in a forest on Darkthrone records. PLAN B: And So I Watch You From Afar, TTNG, Mylets, Stage Kids @ Soda Bar. Instrumental rock comes in a few varieties, generally either epic and majestic or chaotic and heavy on technical dazzle. Northern Ireland's And So I Watch You From Afar lean more toward the latter, sticking to concise tunes that maintain a rollicking momentum and lots of instrumental showmanship. BACKUP PLAN: Get Back Loretta @ The Griffin.
Saturday, Oct. 5
PLAN A: Terror, Power Trip, Code Orange Kids, My Iron Lung, Repel @ The Che Café. The Che Café is the best bet in town for catching a good hardcore show, though when the hardcore band headlining comes with as much cred as old-school bruisers Terror, there's extra incentive to check it out. Better yet, they're playing with Texas thrash-metal newcomers Power Trip, who'll shred your denim vest like it's 1986. PLAN B: Shigeto, Phaeleh, Beacon, Night Moves, Mystery Cave @ The Casbah. Ghostly International has built a name for itself as a reputable bastion of electronic music, and this Ghostly-sponsored tour is plenty evidence of why that is. Headliner Shigeto, in particular, crafts gorgeous down-tempo soundscapes that are rich in mesmerizing detail. BACKUP PLAN: Stalins of Sound, Exorcisms, Marco Polo, Cedar Fire @ Tower Bar.
Sunday, Oct. 6
PLAN A: Calexico, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside @ Belly Up Tavern. I've seen Calexico at least three or four times, and they're always amazing. The Tucson-based group has refined its Southwestern noir sound during the last 17 years and have taken its Palace Music-meets-Ennio Morricone style through many textural detours without ever sacrificing that genuine Calexico feel. Don't pass up an American classic. PLAN B: Orange Goblin, Holy Grail, Lazerwulf, Ape Machine @ Soda Bar. But there's always the beards-and-bong-resin option. U.K. stoner-rockers Orange Goblin are fuzzbox artistes, crafting works of stoned majesty from thick, noxious clouds of distortion. It's (cough) gonna (cough) be awesome. BACKUP PLAN: Travis @ House of Blues.
Monday, Oct. 7
PLAN A: Coliseum, Red Hare, Awakeners @ Soda Bar. Back in April, Louisville, Ky.'s Coliseum released Sister Faith, a hook-heavy post-hardcore album that recalls the likes of Jawbox and Fugazi, with an extra dose of burly menace. If you shout yourself hoarse at only one show this week, make it this one. BACKUP PLAN: Pure X, Silent Land Time Machine, Ditches @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Oct. 8
PLAN A: Shiva Trash, Electric Healing Sound, Gloomsday @ The Griffin. Garage rock always sounds better when it's dripping with reverb and more than a little bit of surf-rock influence. That's local quartet Shiva Trash in a nutshell—equal parts Ventures and Stooges, carrying an Igloo cooler full of drunken fun and occasionally careening toward oblivion. BACKUP PLAN: The Sinclairs, The Paper Thins, Danny and the Tramp @ Soda Bar.